Unmasking dark net drug dealers

Unmasking dark net drug dealers

Organisation: The Sunday Times (United Kingdom)

Publication Date: 04/05/2017



Using publicly available backups of several popular dark net markets, Louis Goddard and Robin Henry identified individuals in the UK selling hacking equipment and illegal drugs. Among the dealers unmasked by the Sunday Times was Darren Wheeley, a government contractor linked to an account selling high-tech equipment for breaking into cars. Another was an employee at a Liverpool hospital who had sold thousands of pounds worth of steroids and prescription painkillers. The dealers were identified through clues left in their profile pages on dark net markets. These included photographs containing location data and PGP encryption keys containing personal email addresses. All this information was obtained from backups published by an independent security researcher known as Gwern Branwen: https://www.gwern.net/DNM%20archives. The investigation involved combing through more than 1.5 terabytes of data in total.
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